The tiger is the largest species of the cat family. Even though they are large and powerful, they are also very stealthy. You’ll never know you’re being stalked by a tiger till it’s too late! Being the 3rd largest land predator, after polar and brown bears, has both its advantages and disadvantages. You’re top of the food chain but you’re also open to hunting and poaching. The remaining 2 tiger species are listed as Endangered by the IUCN.
First the Stats…
Speed: 30 – 40 mph (Adult, In Short Bursts)
Weight: Male: 200 – 670 lbs (Adult), Female: 140 – 370 lbs (Adult)
Height: .70 to 1.2 meters (2.3 – 4 ft.) (Adult, At Shoulder)
Length: 3.3 meters (11 feet)
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years (In the wild) | 20 – 26 years (In captivity)
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Tigers are the only cat species that are completely striped. This means that they even have stripes on their skin.
2.) Tigers, as mentioned, are the largest cat species in the world and the third-largest carnivore on land; only polar bears and brown bears are larger. An adult Amur or Siberian tiger (the largest subspecies) can weigh up to 660 pounds.
3.) No two tigers have the same stripes. Like human fingerprints, their stripe patterns are unique to each individual.
4.) An adult tiger can consume up to 88 pounds of meat in one meal! That’s like eating 352 quarter pounders in 1 meal !!!
5.) Ever wonder why your cat buries its food? Big cats do it too. They will often stay with their kill and bury it to come back to later.
But wait, there’s more on the tiger!
6.) Female tigers are devoted mothers. After a gestation period of a little more than three months, they give birth to two – three blind, helpless cubs. The mom is the sole provider for them until they reach independence at two years of age, as dad usually doesn’t play a part in raising the cubs.
7.) A group of tigers is called a streak. A streak is rare to see, as tigers are solitary critters.
Did you know…?
It’s estimated that tiger hunts are only successful about one in every 10 to 20 attempts! Talk about perseverance!
8.) Unlike many other big cats, tigers are strong swimmers and have been known to swim long distances to hunt and even cross rivers. Young tigers frequently play in water and adults will lounge in streams or lakes to stay cool during the hot days.
9.) Tigers are typically nocturnal hunters, by nature. Their nighttime vision is up to six-times greater than ours. However, they are very opportunistic as well and wont pass up a chance to kill during daylight hours, if the opportunity presents itself.
10.) You can hear a tiger’s roar up to two miles (3.21k m) away! Tiger vocalizations include hissing, roaring, moaning, growling, and chuffing (regular sharp puffing sound).
But wait, there’s still more on the tiger!
11.) Tigers have large padded feet and roll their steps when they prowl. This makes them almost totally silent when hunting prey.
12.) White tigers are not a separate subspecies nor are they true albino. They are what is called leucistic. This is the result of a recessive gene from each parent that affects pigmentation. White tigers typically have blue eyes, whereas an albino animal will have red or pink eyes.
13.) Tigers are carnivores, eating only meat. They mainly feed on large mammals such as deer, wild pigs, antelope and buffalo.
Did you also know…?
A tiger’s hind legs are longer than its front legs, This gives them the ability to jump forward 20 – 30 feet in a single jump.
14.) A tiger will quietly stalk their prey until they are close enough to pounce – then they kill their victim with a bite to the neck or back of the head.
15.) Today, there are five subspecies of tiger: Bengal, South China, Indochinese, Sumatran and Siberian. Sadly, due to poaching and human encroachment, three subspecies of tiger have become extinct – Caspian, Javan, and Bali.